Angelina Jolie is the Latest Celeb to Have a White Powder Incident

Let's investigate the damage, how it probably happened—and what to know so you won't fall victim, too!
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Michelle Villett
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Let's investigate the damage, how it probably happened—and what to know so you won't fall victim, too!
Angelina Jolie, The Normal Heart premiere, 2014 (1)

I spent most of yesterday at an epic media event (for the launch of this), but as soon as I arrived, I was alerted by my friend Jill to the breaking news of Angelina Jolie's face at The Normal Heart premiere. (What is that saying about my rep for discussing celebrity beauty disasters? I guess it's become my "thing". Sorry parents, you probably hoped for better things from me.)

Anyway, it is indeed a big deal when the normally super-put-together Ms. Jolie steps out in public looking like parts of her face were dipped in flour. Call me crazy, but I don't think she spends that much time in the kitchen.

Nope, what we've got is yet another celebrity white powder incident on our hands, just like the mishaps of Nicole Kidman, Uma Thurman, Drew Barrymore, Eva Longoria and Ashley Judd before her. And I'm sure so many more. It happens to the best of us!

If you're wondering, "How TF did this happen?" then the first thing you need to understand is that it was only visible under the bright flash of the cameras, not the naked eye. Look at Brad; he has NO idea he's got his arm around a powder-face.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, The Normal Heart premiere, 2014

You also should know this ain't no normal powder. Blame this sitch on the loose translucent HD (hi-def) powder that's become so popular in recent years. Make Up For Ever's HD Microfinish Powder is perhaps the most famous, and no, this doesn't make me want to quit using it (but more on that in a sec).

Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder

Sabrina Rinaldi swears by Too Faced Primed & Poreless Powder, which is along the same lines:

Too Faced Primed & Poreless Powder

These types of powders have a high silica content, which is what reflects the light of the flash and shows up white.

Let's take a closer look:

Angelina Jolie, The Normal Heart premiere, 2014 (2)

Not only is it all over the bottom left side of her face, but it's also on the right side of her forehead, in her right eyebrow, and then dusted over her chest:

Angelina Jolie, The Normal Heart premiere, 2014 (3)

I didn't even know powder was needed there!

I definitely think a makeup artist in this day and age, working on a celeb as A-list as Jolie, shouldn't have let this happen—how could you NOT be aware of the danger of using white powder under flash? Recall when I asked celebrity makeup artist Melanie Inglessis about the similar Nicole Kidman incident, and she said, "I’m so close to my clients’ noses that I don’t understand how that powder did not show up physically. How they didn’t see a change in texture even if the colour wasn’t visible. I can see every pore on [my client's] face. Maybe it was a brand new product. You have to be careful. If I go to Saks and buy a brand new powder, I probably would not use that first-hand on my client. I would use it on myself, take a picture with flash and see."

That, my friends, is why we've heard of Melanie Inglessis... but we have no idea who does Angelina's makeup. (And after this, they'll probably never be heard from again.)

The other possibility, however, is that it wasn't the makeup artist's fault at all, but Angelina's. Another makeup artist once told me that celebs often touch themselves up in the minutes before walking the red carpet, and in the process can ruin the expert's good work. Maybe Angelina was sweaty and she thought a little powdering could help—and of course she couldn't see it on herself in the back of some car, right?

We'll probably never know, but that said, I get why makeup artists love to use translucent powder. It's all about the texture—er, lack thereof—that is awesome. Compared to old-school powders, which build up on the face and tend to cake and settle in lines and pores, especially as you keep re-applying, HD powders are much more buildable, without adding heavy texture to the skin.

Unless you apply too much and stand in front of a camera, that is... which brings me to my solution.

How to ensure YOU never have a white powder incident of your own

I don't think anyone has to give up white powder, even Ange. To me, it just looks like her makeup artist used way too much of it, and probably with the wrong type of brush.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again—use a domed eyeshadow brush to apply your powder, extremely sparingly, only in the spots where you need it. This one's from Sephora:

Sephora Collection Pro Tapered Crease Brush

So forget a kabuki, or a traditional big, fluffy powder brush. Think tiny, tiny amounts—tap off almost everything from the brush—and just lightly dust it maybe in between your brows, at the centre of your forehead, over the nostrils and across the chin. That's it!

This way, you'll never have to worry about overdoing it, and I'm confident nothing will show up, even if you are like Angelina, with cameras flashing at you everywhere. Plus, I think in general it's better to err on the side of slightly dewy than matte—a natural skin texture looks a little younger. Better to be a little oily/shiny than dry and dehydrated... or worse, powdery white.

Your thoughts?

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How do you feel about Angelina's visible powder?
Are you an HD powder user yourself?
Got any other tricks for avoiding this type of situation?